Which U.S. professional sports team has the most championships in sports history?
The New York Yankees are the U.S. professional sports team that has won the most championships with 27 World Series titles. 27 titles is what you might call dominance in the playoffs.
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To note, they were a media darling for a long time in sports. Anyway, this guide to discuss championship winning franchises in the MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL and NHL.
Is the team with the most titles in sports the best franchise ever? Who knows. Back to the Yanks and their 27 ...
27 beers, however, is not even enough for the Yankees to keep up with former player, Wade Boggs, who reportedly drank 60+ beers on road trips. Heck, 27 beers was just a pre-game snack for Andre the Giant. Plus, can you imagine how many fungo bats the Bronx Bombers have gone through over those 27 titles?
Anyway, the distinction is a bit misleading, as you'll soon understand. For starters, a professional baseball league was in existence long before the other major U.S. sports leagues incorporated. This gave the MLB teams a lot more time to accumulate rings, including the Yankees. In fact, half of their World Series titles came when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn (moved in 1957).
Building on that, some leagues have participating teams from Canada. For example, the Toronto Blue Jays and the (now defunct) Montreal Expos. While they wouldn't qualify for "U.S. professional sports team with the most championships" being Canadian and all, there may be one team who can give the Yankees a run for their title money in pro sports.
How many rings do all of these teams have? Let's find out.
The Most Major League Baseball (MLB) Championships
The New York Yankees have won the most championships in Major League Baseball's history, once again with 27 titles. That's a lot of rings to wear. You'd have to double up some fingers just to fit all of those 27 rings that the Yankees have. What's interesting is that for all of their proven offensive talent, they don't have nearly as much history with players winning Gold Glove awards.
New York Yankees Title Years: 1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009
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Top Five World Series winners
- New York Yankees: 27 wins
- St. Louis Cardinals: 11 wins
- Philadelphia/Oakland Athletics: 9 wins
- Boston Red Sox: 9 wins
- New York/San Francisco Giants: 8 wins
The Most National Football League (NFL) Championships
The Green Bay Packers have the most titles in the NFL with 13 all-time, followed by the Chicago with 9 and New York Giants with 8. Some of these victories for these teams came before the invention of the Super Bowl.
Top Five NFL Championship Winners
- Green Bay Packers: 13 wins
- Chicago Bears: 9 wins
- New York Giants: 8 wins
- New England Patriots: 6 wins
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 6 wins
Championships in the Super Bowl Era
The New England Patriots, who are thankful that Coach Belichick moved on from Cleveland and never took the HC role with the NY Jets, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are tied for the most Super Bowl victories with 6 wins a piece. Humorously, if Tom Brady wins the Super Bowl this year, he will have more titles than either team with 7 to his name. Think about that. Or, don't if you don't like him. (UPDATE - HE DID!)
New England Patriots Title Years: 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, 2018
Pittsburgh Steelers Title Years: 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, 2008
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Top Five Super Bowl Winners
- New England Patriots: 6 wins
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 6 wins
- Dallas Cowboys: 5 wins
- San Francisco 49ers: 5 wins
- Green Bay Packers: 4 wins
- New York Giants: 4 wins
Is Tom Brady his own NFL franchise?
For fun, let's just say that Tom Brady the G.O.A.T. is a franchise all to himself. After all, he owns more Super Bowl victories than every franchise in the league, including six with the Patriots and, most recently, one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tom Brady Title Years: 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020
The Most National Basketball League (NBA) Championships
The Boston Celtics & Los Angeles Lakers have won the most championships in the National Basketball Association's history with 17 titles each. The Lakers have reached the NBA Finals more often out of the two teams, winning the championship in the most recent season. That season featured a compressed regular season due to the pandemic.
17 titles is hilarious when the media hits you over the head with former MVP Michael Jordan's dual three-peat runs through the NBA Finals with the 90's Chicago Bulls teams. These two basketball teams, the Celtics and Lakers, are so amazingly far ahead of everyone else that it's safe to say they have put a full court press on the league's championship trophy. We prefer a bacon press, but that's us.
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Boston Celtics Title Years: 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008
Los Angeles Lakers Title Years: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020
Top Five NBA Championship Winners
- Boston Celtics: 17 wins
- Los Angeles Lakers: 17 wins
- Golden State Warriors: 6 wins
- Chicago Bulls: 6 wins
- San Antonio Spurs: 5 wins
The Most National Hockey League (NHL) Championships
The Montreal Canadiens have won the most championships in the National Hockey League's history with 24 titles. They, along with Team Canada (more on that to come), have 24 championship victories in their existence. The Canadiens were in the lead for the most pro sports championships as far back as 1998, when the Yankees tied them with 24, following a 4-0 sweep of the San Diego Padres. The NYY ultimately broke the record with another sweep in 1999, this time over the Atlanta Braves.
So, for a time, the winningest professional sports franchise was from Canada, not the United States. We hesitate to give the Yankees credit for anything, well, because they are the Yankees, but they brought the record back on home in 1999.
As for the Canadiens, it's been a rough ~30 years in the NHL since their last 'ship. The Neutral Zone Trap, Ray Bourque switching squads, Red Wing dominance, Crosby's Penguins, etc. have all prevented the Habs from hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup.
The big question is, do they drink Puppers Beer when they win in Canada?
Montreal Canadiens Title Years: 1915-16, 1923-24, 1929-30, 1930-31, 1943-44, 1945-46, 1952-53, 1955-56, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1970-71, 1972-73, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78, 1978-79, 1985-86, 1992-93
Top Five Stanley Cup Winners
- Montreal Candiens: 23 wins
- Toronto Maple Leafs: 13 wins
- Detroit Red Wings: 11 wins
- Boston Bruins: 6 wins
- Chicago Blackhawks: 6 wins
Team Canada's IIHF Championship Titles
With such a high win rate, it's almost a bit sad that we can't give it to Team Canada. Their dominance in winning Euro 'ships and with their Olympic success, they'd almost be a shoe in.
The Most Major League Soccer (MLS) Championships
Speaking of dominance, the LA Galaxy has made it a Tom Brady like habit of getting to the MLS Cup, having been there 9 times in the leages 24-25 year existence, and, winning it 5 of those 9. Unlike their Gilette Stadium brethren, the New England Revolution, tied for second on the list of appearances, have gone 0-5 in the title match.
LA Galaxy Title Years: 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014
Top Five MLS Cup Winners
- Los Angeles Galaxy: 9 wins
- D.C. United: 5 wins
- Houston Dynamo: 4 wins
- Seattle Sounders FC: 4 wins
- Columbus Crew FC: 3 wins
- Sporting Kansas City: 3 wins
Lotta Boston on this list. One outright in the lead (Celtics/NBA), one tied for a modern era record (Patriots/NFL), and one with a rather unfortunate record (Revolution/MLS). Another interesting fact, if you don't have an "S" in your team name, you aren't on this list.
References & Sources